PM Albanese on matchmaking mission with superpower leaders
Anthony Albanese has limited time to impress in talks with US President Joe Biden and China’s President Xi Jinping, as Mark Knight's cartoon sets the scene – and the pace – as a dating game
READING LEVEL: ORANGE
Over the course of just 10 days, Prime Minister Albanese will have met with two of the world’s most powerful leaders of two of the world’s most powerful countries.
Albo has already been in the US this week for meetings with President Joe Biden, then after a brief few days back home, he will jet off again to China to meet President Xi Jinping. That’s a pretty impressive looking calendar on your iPhone in anyone’s language.
In the US, the PM has been trying to seal the deal on buying American nuclear submarines*, as well as discussing trade issues and strengthening our security ties with our old ally*.
In China, he will be the first Australian leader in seven years to visit, after our falling-out with Chinese leadership over former PM Scott Morrison’s push for an investigation into how the Covid-19 pandemic* emanated* from China.
Xi Jinping didn’t like that idea and imposed huge trade tariffs* on Australian exports* to China, shutting down our exports to the Chinese market almost overnight. Those restrictions have cost Australian business gazillions* in lost trade, so Albo is there to encourage our old China plates* (mates) in Beijing to continue their relaxation of trade tariffs.
He will also discuss our broader relationship with the expanding might of China and its interests in the Pacific region.
This topic is where the Australian prime minister will have to walk a fine line between our two biggest trading partners: the US and China. We do business with both and seek to have a chummy relationship with both, but it must be said that America and China do not see eye-to-eye as they battle for the title of the world’s biggest economy and superpower status. So I wanted to draw a cartoon that illustrated how Albanese might go about these two huge meetings with our superpower mates.
The best concept, I thought, for how our relationship with the two might work was the formalised social matchmaking* process called “speed dating”. That is where people looking for a potential new partner meet at a venue like a restaurant and move from table to table for a series of very short dates.
At the end of each short interval, a bell rings and they move to the next table, where another two people get to know each other on an equally short date. At the end of the session, they can decide who they would like to make contact with in the future. To me, it sounded like a perfect way for leaders of nations to get to know each other!
Albanese, Biden and President Xi are all favourites of mine to draw and a cartoonist can have a bit of fun with Biden’s aviator* sunglasses and the Chinese leader’s Communist Party Chairman Mao* style suit.
So I sketched a restaurant scene with our PM sitting at a table with Joe Biden. They look like they are getting on just fine but the bell has just rung and Albo has to move on to a new partner, similar to his meetings in the US and China this week.
It was important in the cartoon to get that moment right where Albo is getting up to go just as Biden asks who he is meeting next. The punchline* of the cartoon is that Albo’s next date is Biden’s arch rival*, Xi Jinping, sitting adjacent.
Let’s hope there is a lot of noise in the room, so Joe Biden cannot eavesdrop* on Albo chatting up his next date, Xi Jinping!
- nuclear submarines: submarine powered by a nuclear reactor, not necessarily nuclear-armed
- ally: a country that has agreed to help and support another one
- pandemic: the worldwide spread of a new disease
- emanated: emerged, came out, spread out from a source
- tariffs: taxes imposed by one country on the goods and services imported from another
- exports: goods from one country sent to another country for sale
- gazillions: a very large but unspecified or unknown number, a huge amount
- China plates: slang for “mates”, a form of Cockney slang originating in London’s East End
- matchmaking: actively arranging marriages or romantic relationships between people
- aviator: aircraft pilot or flyer, also a well known style of sunglasses
- Chairman Mao: Communist leader, chairman of the People’s Republic of China (1949–59) and the Chinese Communist Party (1943–76)
- punchline: the last part of a story or a joke that explains the lead up
- arch rival: main opponent, chief competition
- eavesdrop: overhear, listen in
- Who are the two world leaders Anthony Albanese is meeting and from which countries?
- What did China impose on Australia during Covid-19?
- What details does Mark Knight use to have fun when drawing Joe Biden and Xi Jinping?
- What is Mr Albanese going to discuss with President Xi?
- What deal is Mr Albanese hoping to seal in talks with Joe Biden?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. What happens next?
Imagine this cartoon is part of a story that is made up of three cartoons. The three cartoons tell a complete story, and Mark’s cartoon is the start of the story. Think about what the story could be and draw the next two cartoons that tell the story.
Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts, Visual Communication Design, Critical and Creative Thinking
Being able to draw is only one of the skills needed to be a great cartoonist. Write a list of all of the other skills that you think cartoonists like Mark need to do their job.
Next to each skill, write a sentence that explains why that skill is important or helps them to do a great job.
Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Media Arts, Visual Communication Design
Stretch your sentence
Choose a “who” in the cartoon. Write them down.
Add three adjectives to describe them better.
Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?
Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.
Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.